I’m back after more than a year’s hiatus!

My only excuse is that I married my true love and moved to a new country 🙂 But I haven’t forgotten my promise in the last post—that is, to write about my favorite recipe for tempeh. So here it is: fried tempeh strips with an Indonesian-inspired sauce made with tomatoes, coriander and cashew nuts.

To prepare the tempeh is simple enough. Cut your prepared tempeh in thin strips, about the size of french fries. The thinner they are, the more quickly and more evenly they will cook. Marinate the tempeh strips in a little soy sauce and pepper for about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat some oil in a pan. When the oil is ready, deep fry the tempeh strips in batches small enough to allow even cooking. Each batch should cook in about two minutes.  The soy sauce will color the tempeh darker than they normally would be, so resist the temptation to undercook them. Once done, drain on paper towels.

Now for the sauce.  For about a cup and a half of sauce, you will need:

3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
5 medium tomatoes
a small handful of cashew nuts
salt to taste
chili flakes to taste
fresh cilantro leaves roughly chopped

Note: In Indonesia, kemiri (candlenuts) are typically used instead of cashews. Kemiri are difficult to find outside Indonesia, but I find the cashews are a good substitute.

You can use a mortar and pestle (for a chunkier texture), or a small food processor to make the sauce. Start by pounding the garlic with the salt into a smooth paste.  Add the coriander seeds and cashews and grind them in. Toss in the tomatoes and pound into a chunky paste. Adjust the seasoning and add chili flakes for heat. Add cilantro leaves.

These are great as appetizers or have them with steamed brown rice as a main.

On a side note about tempeh-making, since moving to California I have tried making tempeh from scratch. I had nothing but success in Manila, as the year-round temperature there is similar to Indonesia and is perfect for incubating tempeh. My first attempt in California however, was a failure. I think this was due to fluctuations in the temperature between day and night time, even though I had attempted to rig up a heated space in a cupboard shelf with a lamp. For my second try, I used an Excalibur dehydrator, set to about 90° F. The tempeh was done perfectly in 24 hours!  So yes, it can be done, and yes, there will be more tempeh in my future.